Hi all, this is Josie Valentine again. (Who else?)
As you know, I am definitely a "live in the now" kind of dog -- most dogs are -- and I don't like to dwell in the past. But mom thought it might be helpful to my fans if I spent just a few minutes explaining how it came about that I am living in Blue House Land. If you have a weak stomach, don't worry -- I promise to keep the gory details to a minimum. It's no fun to remember, but hey, at least the story has a happy ending!
I used to live in the village of Iowa. Iowa was nothing like Blue House Land, let me tell you! In Iowa, I lived outside, attached to a tree, by myself, all the time. I did not know what it meant to be a family member. I did not even know what the inside of a house looked like! All day and all night, by myself, cold (in the winter, freezing!) and very, very lonely. And if you've ever witnessed my cuddling skills, I don't have to tell you that this was a huge waste of a World Champion Cuddler Extraordinaire!
I might have stayed that way for my entire life, except for one tiny detail: my previous "owner," who I shall refer to in this blog by the very mysterious code name P.O.S., was actually being watched on secret hidden video by the feds! Woah! The feds wanted to catch P.O.S. and a bunch of other people in the act of dog fighting. Basically, what happens in dog fighting is that P.O.S. and his friends would sometimes take some of my doggy friends away, and then sometimes those dogs would never come back or sometimes they'd come back and be all busted up. It was pretty scary!
(You may find it interesting to know that when he wasn't fighting dogs, P.O.S. was a high school science teacher and golf coach. It's creepy, right, people? I mean it's bad enough when our professional athletes turn out to be dog fighters, but teachers now, too? Outrageous!)
Anyway, those feds must be pretty smart because their plan worked and they caught P.O.S. and a lot of other people on video doing all sorts of unsavory things to us dogs. As a result, on July 8, 2009 I was just hanging out, minding my own business peacefully, when all of a sudden, some people pulled up in a big van in my yard. I was pretty scared at first but these people were very friendly and soon came over and took me and my other doggy friends off of our chains. These people were like super heroes! They worked tirelessly from their super hero vans, making sure all the dogs could be free from their chains. The super heroes freed almost 500 dogs in all! Not just from Iowa, but from a bunch of other states too. It was kind of a big deal.
(If you want more details you can read all about them in this document from the feds. This is a bit of a "gory detail" document where you will learn unpleasant things like how P.O.S. was the "sponge man" in charge of cleaning the blood of the dogs before sending them back into the ring basically. Yuck! And here is another news story about it, "Inside America's Biggest Dog Fighting Bust.")
So, back to the super heroes. Once they had all of us dogs freed, they loaded us into their van and took us to a big shelter. The shelter was pretty scary too, but at least I was indoors and given food and water. I had to stay in the shelter for a long time -- the super heroes said it was because we were "evidence" so we couldn't be freed yet. After a few months, I was getting a little bored of being in the shelter place, and I'm embarrassed to say I was getting a little fat from all of the yummy treats that the shelter super heroes gave me. But finally, P.O.S. plead guilty to the charges against him, which meant that I never had to go to Iowa and my tree ever again! Wahoo!
But I was not yet free. (Being a bust dog takes a little patience, people!)
Instead, the super heroes and I were faced with a new challenge: finding enough people to be families for me and my fellow bust dogs. This was not easy, especially in Iowa, where something called Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) means that it's very hard for Iowans to adopt a pit bull like me. Mom says that BSL gives new meaning to the acronym I.O.W.A. if you catch my drift, but in fact BSL happens in lots of places, not just Iowa.
Anywho, even this challenge did not stop the phenomenal Iowa super heroes. They brought in even MORE super heroes from BAD RAP in California, A Rotta Love Plus in Minnesota, and other pit bull rescue groups, who traveled all the way to Iowa to take us the rest of the way on our journey. (BAD RAP wrote about me during this stage of my journey, and so did ARLP, ooh boy my head was starting to get big from all this attention!)
I used all my Josie charms to catch the eye of some really nice ladies from A Rotta Love Plus and they let me out of my crate and did some tests to make sure that I would be nice to people (me? nice to people? what a hoot!). Obviously, I passed (NO DUH) and the next thing I knew I was in yet another car, on a really long car ride to Minnesota. There's even a video about it! (Yes, I am basically famous, but I try not to brag).
This is getting to be a long story, but hang in there -- we're getting to the best part. Once I got to Minnesota, I became a Foster Dog. A Foster Dog is a dog who gets to live in a home with nice people and dogs and learns the ways of the world. And boy did I get lucky in my foster home! My foster mom was so nice and taught me so many awesome things about living in a house. She even wrote about me a lot on the A Rotta Love Plus blog! I had a lot of fun with her, and I was so good at being a foster dog that they let me go to another foster home for a little while too, and I got to learn even more about being a family dog.
In short, life in Minnesota was awesome, and I really liked being a foster, but something was missing -- I still hadn't found a Forever Home. My foster parents told me not to worry because it takes time to find the right family for a Special and Famous dog like Ms. Josie; in the mean time they worked very hard to make sure I would be ready for it when the time came. To be honest I never worried about it much because I was having so much fun being a foster. I didn't think it could get any better!
Finally, on Valentine's Day, there was a knock on the door and in walked my mom and dad, although I didn't know it at the time. They tell me now that it was love at first sight, and I must admit I liked them right away too. I had a feeling that it was right, and so did they, and that's when they took me home to Blue House Land and thus began my current life of cuddling and playing and sleeping in the same dog bed every night and having lots of friends to play with like Brody and Auntie Katie and Terrae, and never having to spend a night out in the cold again. (Oh yes, and all that pesky hard work that my mom makes me do to become a Good Citizen someday.)
So that's how I went from being Property, to Evidence, to Foster, to Family.
Thank you to all of the super heroes who got me where I am today.